A brave South Carolina lawmaker is taking a stance, saying that there are ways to fix the state’s aging roadways without raising taxes for anyone. The key to doing this would be by legalizing gambling. For those who may be unfamiliar, this suggestion is not taken lightly as the state, historically, has long been opposed to the idea of legalized gambling.
The man behind the push to legalize casinos in the state is Representative Todd Rutherford, a democrat from Columbia. At this juncture, he has drafted a bill that, should the support exist, will be placed on the 2018 ballot. In short, the bill and attached vote would ask residents of the state if they think lawmakers should move to amend the state constitution such that Las Vegas-style gambling facilities would be legal. As you might have guessed, just about all forms of casino gambling are, right now, illegal in South Carolina.
Not only would this benefit those who would like to play casino games such as craps and blackjack, it would also come to the aid of the state’s many prospective poker players too. A ruling back in 2012 by the state’s court system made it clear that a law from the early 1800s—which states that playing poker for real money is illegal—must still be considered legitimate today. As such, playing poker, even between friends, for real money is highly illegal in the state. Despite general agreement that abiding by a law that is more than 200 years old seems a bit ridiculous, the law is the law until the state’s constitution is amended to say otherwise.
In addition to casino games, Rutherford’s plan also lays out plans to allow for sports betting to take place at South Carolina casinos. Before this can go into effect, however, the state would need Federal approval for any sports betting could take place at prospective casinos. The timing could not be any better, however, because Congress is scheduled to review a 1992 Act that, if changed, would allow sports betting to take place outside of Nevada.
Rutherford has already attempted to introduce pro-gambling bills, but these efforts have not produced any tangible results. Still, with Donald Trump about to become the next President of the United States, Rutherford thinks that he will have support from the nation’s top lawmaker. In a statement, Rutherford was quoted as saying, “Trump is well tied-in to gambling. The Republicans are now well tied-in to it all the way to the top. What is wrong with South Carolina benefiting from that tie-in to gambling profits?”
As it stands, there are 0 land-based casinos in the state of South Carolina, and this has always been the case. Though there are two gambling boats that operate out of Myrtle Beach and take patrons into International waters in order to gamble, the overall presence of casino-style gambling in the state is slim to none. There are strong hopes that the tide is slowly but surely turning in South Carolina, but as it stands there is still a lot of work to be done before any casino opens its doors.